Let's get excited about indie publishing serialized fiction! In this exuberant interview, Sean Platt talks about the publishing and marketing lessons learned from serial fiction project Yesterday's Gone. I really appreciate his positive approach and ‘can-do' attitude so I hope you enjoy it.
Sean Platt is a prolific author, copywriter, publisher and online entrepreneur. He has written business and writing books, children's books and also co-authored the recent Amazon bestselling Yesterday's Gone, a serialized post-apocalyptic thriller. [Video at the bottom if you prefer that!]
- Sean & his co-author love serialized content in terms of TV – “good junkie” TV series like Lost which drag people in and keep them hooked. The grand openings and the endings that make you desperate for the next episode. As writers, that's what they wanted to achieve.
- As publishers, they want to hit the same type of numbers as Hocking, Locke, Konrath etc and to do that you need to have multiple titles in the same niche. Now their model is to create a lot of great books available for low prices. Serializing . It's fiction with a funnel. All the things Sean has learned as an information marketer he is now applying to fiction.
- The pilot grabs you and they made this free to hook people in. You can do this by making it free on Smashwords and it trickles through to Amazon. This only works if you put out the very best and it over delivers. It's got to be your best work as people are paying for it with their time, if not their money.
- If you wouldn't charge for it, it's not worth being free. You also have to have somewhere for them to go if it's free e.g. a sequel or another book to buy. You waste your time unless there is a return.
- I mention CJ Lyons who also blogged here about ‘free'
- Using episodes as Kindle & print books as well as putting it into a Series book with 6 episodes. Some people want to buy in episodes and others will buy in the series.
- Writing fast and with quality. Sean is a retired ghostwriter so he learned to write fast as time was money. Writing fast enables your true voice to emerge as you don't self-censure so much. You can find flow that way. The quality doesn't decay.
- Sean postulates that taking writing classes slows people down as instinct is un-taught. Writing based on what you love and your passion rather than what you are taught at school means you can be freer in your expression. You can edit a lot but the basic first draft is very fast if you write this way.
- As a self-publisher you can't put out anything that isn't your absolute best.
- The gatekeepers are now the customer, not the publisher. This is great because it's easier to speak to those people. You also need ‘to work your face off'. We use the example of Stephen King who works extremely hard and puts out books people love year after year.
- There is no writer's block. It's procrastination!
- On book marketing. Sean has been everywhere in the last 4-6 weeks including some massive blogs. He has been online for a good few years so he has a network that he could tap into. He knew he had no fiction readers so he aimed for the influencers. This has created an audience for the fiction so next time he can market to them specifically. You have to do this for a first book but the 2nd would be done differently.
- What really helped was being free on Amazon as they peaked at #1 on Horror (although it's not really Horror) and that spilled into sales of the other episodes. But it's only worth being free if you have a load of great reviews already. You have to have the social proof. You can't game Amazon. Write for the readers.
- For the next book, Sean is looking at actual mainstream media to get rid of the final stigma of self-publishing. It is fair as self-pub needs to earn it's way. A lot of it is crap and it is different. We need to earn respect. We're legitimizing it. He is focusing on getting a great quote as well as book reviews. The online network is now leveraged, it needs to more into another game. It's proved in the market place with sales and reviews so they are able to approach people with some evidence.
- The best way to market is to create more content once you have started the ball rolling.
You can buy Yesterday's Gone at Amazon here. If you like Lost and Stephen King, it might be your thing!
Please do let me know what you think in the comments below. Thank you!